Summary: Buttery soft leather is so pliable, the gloves feel
like second skin.
Lightweight and very comfortable, the Falco Podium
gloves could easily become and all-time favorite.
The concept of value is interesting and complex.
To most people, value probably equates with the word "bargain"
-- but that
seems too simple
The psychology of value is complex and I'm as bamboozled by it as
The Falco Podium gloves are a good example of the complexity of
the value equation. Somehow, I got
it in my head that the gloves cost $359.90.
Yikes! If it were true, that
would make them the most expensive pair of motorcycle gloves we ever reviewed by
far -- and probably the most expensive motorcycle gloves in the world.
But, I had to overlook that -- have to stay neutral and unbiased, right? I
didn't want the price to sway my opinion until I at least tried the gloves and
formed an opinion.
However, the little voice in the back of my head was thinking
"How in the world am I every going to explain this one? webBikeWorld
visitors are going to think I'm nuts!".
Then after riding with them for a week or so, I thought "You
know what? They might just be worth it". After all, the
quality is excellent, they're so comfy and that leather -- I have never felt
anything like it before. Like buttah. Only bettah.
"The leather", I thought. "That must be why they cost so
This went on for a couple of weeks of riding until I sat down to
start the background work for this review, and I discovered that the actual list
price of the Falco Podium gloves isn't $359.90. Not even close -- the list
$120.00. Quite a difference, eh?
Which brings me back to that value equation. I honestly
thought the gloves were worth the $359.90, and I was prepared to make an
argument for buying them. Now that I find they're really only $120.00, I'm
$120.00 is still more than many will pay for a pair of
motorcycle gloves. And I don't have objective data on how the Falco Podium
gloves will perform when they're needed most -- in a crash.
Leather Lovers Will Love This Leather!
I can definitely say that the leather used in these gloves is different -- very
different -- than any other motorcycle gloves I've worn. And I'll bet that
over the last 10+ years that webBikeWorld has been online that I've worn more
different types of gloves than just about anyone out there.
This is seriously good leather ladies and gentlemen -- if you
equate smooth, soft, light weight and ultra-pliable with good. I do.
Most of the leather used in less-than-$125.00 or so motorcycle
gloves is thick cowhide that usually takes some time to break in. In
general, the thicker the leather, the more the hand is isolated from the feel of
the bike through the handlebars.
Which is why some of the higher-end motorcycle glove
manufacturers use kangaroo hide for the palms. Kangaroo is claimed to
provide good or better abrasion resistance with less bulk, and pretty much all
of the kangaroo palm gloves I've worn have excellent grip feel.
The leather used in the Falco Podium gloves feels so pliable
it's almost like wearing rubber or silicone protective barrier gloves. It
even squeaks like rubber. The
Podium gloves need no break-in; they're as comfortable as anything right from
The leather also has another interesting feature: it gets even
more pliable as the gloves become warmer from my body temperature. I've
noticed this especially if I take the gloves off and then put them right back
Flash Slide Show: Details of the Falco Podium Gloves
Falco, who takes its name from the owner, Gianni Falco, has been manufacturing boots in Italy since
1993 and they're now branching out into leather clothing
All of the Falco boots are made in
the Falco plant in Altivole, Italy, just northwest of
Venice. This is the home of other firms that are familiar to
motorcyclists, including Alpinestars, Forma, Gaerne, Sidi, StylMartin and TCX.
Falco products are available in Europe and distributed in North
America by Advanced Motorcycle Gear, whose details are in the summary table
I'm not sure if the Podium gloves are made in Altivole, but they
are labeled as "Made in the EU". The quality of this pair is
excellent and they appear to be hand made, although a motorcycle glove is such a
complex item that I'm sure most of them are hand-stitched.
Falco Podium Gloves - Materials
I don't have very much technical information that might describe the
construction of the Falco Podium gloves.
They come in a wide range of sizes from XS to XXL, although this pair is
slightly undersized. The Podium gloves shown here are size 11, equivalent
XL. I usually take a size large, although I'm borderline L/XL, and these
fit me perfectly. Like a glove!
I'll have to assume that the leather used in the Podium gloves
comes from the usual suspects; that is, members of the Family Bovidae.
You'd never know it though if you have any experience at all with gloves
containing kangaroo hide, and those gloves are usually more expensive than the
average. Kangaroo (and goat hide) is soft and pliable also, but for sure the hide used in the Podium gloves really
is something special.
Maybe that's why the hush-hush on the tech specs -- could there be
a secret leather formula? The flexibility of the Podium gloves is probably
also enhanced by the "pull up" of the hides used.
Pull up is a leather maker's term that "describes the behavior
of leather that has been treated with oils, waxes, and dyes in such a way that
when the leather is pulled or stretched ... the finish becomes lighter in the
stretched areas. Considered a mark of high quality." (Irving Tanning Co.
Leather Terms Glossary).
The stretching and working of the leather creates a thinner and
finer weight per unit of area. This results in a weight of 138 grams
(4-7/8 oz.) for a single Podium glove in size XL.
Stitching and Construction
I asked about the material used for the threads and Falco said that the
stitching is a tear-resistant polyamide. There's more than leather in the
Podium gloves also; they come with a Schoeller Keprotec With Kevlar brochure and
it looks to me like the black hatched pattern material you see on the palms and
first two fingertips is surely the Schoeller material with the Kevlar.
This is expensive stuff, usually found on expensive gloves.
The brochure also mentions something about a "weatherproof"
barrier with "active moisture vapour transmission" and the use of Cordura
Dynafil TS-70 somewhere. These are vaguely familiar names to motorcyclists
because these materials and more are commonly used for protection and abrasion
resistance in our garments.
The liner uses some of these synthetic materials, and it's a
thin liner that's hardly noticeable.
The stitching is very finely done and unlike many other
race-style gloves, my fingers and hands do not get chafed by loose threads or
seams inside the gloves -- it feels very smooth inside.
The fingertips are slightly unusual, with a wider "floor", two
tapering "walls" and a tapered "roof" at the tips. They taper down towards
the front just enough to reduce bulk but not so much that my fingers feel
cramped. The rest of the fingers have a generous amount of room without
Armor and Padding
In addition to the synthetic material mentioned above that is used on the palms,
the Podium gloves have a large matrix of tufted leather sections on the heel of
the hand. These are very obvious in the photos of the palm.
This section carries over into a small flap that covers the
wrist strap, and it continues up the outside of the hand where it wraps around
the lower portion of the pinky finger. Three padded leather pillows also
protect that finger.
The outer seams on this section and the seams on the synthetic
palm protecting material are double-stitched, as is the main knuckle protector
and the wrist gauntlet. The gauntlet is sort of a "gauntlet-and-a-half";
it doesn't fully wrap twice around the wrist, which I find to be somewhat
overkill anyway and sometimes clumsy.
The gauntlet is adequately sized for fitting over a jacket
sleeve and the wrist strap can be cinched up tight, providing the security
necessary to keep the gloves from flying off in a crash.
But if offers good protection and it features generous padding
over the top and outside of the wrist. The aforementioned main knuckle
protectors and the three first knuckle protectors that are seen as chromed domes
are made from some type of polymer material (I think) and chrome plated. I
The main knuckle protector is very comfortable -- I don't really
even feel that it's there. This is due to a combination of the so-soft
leather and the armor design.
Venting and Air Flow
Vents between the first and second knuckles are positioned under those
rubbery-feeling bumpers that seem to be appearing on every race glove around
The vents are backed by the thin lining material, but I
definitely feel air coming through when riding a motorcycle without a fairing to
block the straight-on wind. The leather in between the fingers is
perforated, and combined with the knuckle vents, the Falco Podium gloves offer
better ventilation than most other leather race gloves I've tried.
The fingers also have gathered material over the first knuckles
towards the fingertips, which gives the gloves added flexibility.
OK, so here's a treat. We normally don't produce a video
of gloves, because videos take a huge amount of time to create, but we couldn't
resist for the Falco Podium gloves. Our hope is that the video will give
you some idea of the flexibility and suppleness of the leather used by Falco.
wBW Video: Falco Podium Gloves
I really like the Falco Podium gloves, as you can tell.
The leather does it for me; it is probably the highest
quality leather I've ever felt in any leather garment,
street or bike. I think $120.00 for these is a
Comments are ordered from most recent to oldest.
Not all comments will be published (details). Comments may be edited for
clarity prior to publication.
From "D.L." (5/10): "I visit your
site often to get reviews of gear and misc motorcycle items and was very
impressed by the review of the Falco Podium gloves. I bought
myself a pair from Advanced Motorcycle, but have had an entirely
different experience with them.
First, the pair I received had the right thumb significantly shorter
than the left. It's to a point that I can't fully grip the entire
handlebar, as it the right thumb is too short. This also is a
problem as a lot more vibrations are transmitted to my right hand than
before, as the leather is always in tension. I know humans aren't
fully symmetrical, but I have never had this problem on the 10+ gloves I
have tried on before.
Second, the rubber lining on the inside palm of the glove are not sewn
symmetrically. One side has the rubber texture starting nearly 1
cm higher than the other glove. This isn't as much of an issue as
I feel is a sign of low quality control.
I have had the gloves for 3 months, and ride quite often; the Velcro,
which used to be very very strong, is nearly worn out. The side
that has the texture where the hooks catch has been stretched out.
It has gotten to a point where unless I push it down very hard, the
Velcro will detach in the wind halfway through my ride.
The perforation of the gloves on the side of the fingers works well to
flow air, but has weakened the integrity of the glove. I had that
area rip on me, and the hole has gotten larger in the last month.
Just a note, I don't have anything against the gloves, I told everyone
who asked me why I was buying them that they were highly rated in a
review. It wasn't until after I noticed all these issues that I
feel the review may not have had enough time with the gloves, or it was
possible the pair I received, or webBikeWorld received may not be
representative of the entire line.
Just giving my experience with them, thanks for the reviews!"
Editor's Note: It's important to contact the
retailer immediately if there is a problem with the product. You may still
want to contact Advanced Motorcycle to see if there's anything they can do to
resolve your problems.
From "M.D." (1/10): "I just read your review on the Falco gloves...and
I am shaking
my head with a big YES!
I am a club racer and sponsored by Advanced Motorcycle Gear. When Todd
from Advance got me a set of gloves to try I was really please with the fit
and finish. Then I rode with them...they are RAD! They are so nice to use,
like you're wearing nothing, they kinda remind me of Kushitani's.
they also have the best venting I have ever had in a glove. I even had
the pleasure of low-siding in them and they held up great. I am glad to
see Falco and Advanced getting some much need props! Thanks.